As we grow up, we learn that some relationships in life are not permanent. For what seems like forever, a certain group can be your best friends and it can feel as if nothing will ever change. But as time goes on… people drift. It’s a normal thing that happens to everyone. You find new people, new friends, ones with interests that match the ones you have now, not five years ago. You click – and you find a new clique.
But what happens to the friends you have known for so long? Where do they fit?
This isn’t something people like to discuss. How do you know when it’s time to just let go? It’s different in a relationship with a significant other. It’s a little easier to tell. Someone leaves abruptly or you say “we’re done” or the intimacy is gone and you go your separate ways. But with your friends, there may not be a definitive sign that it’s time to move on.
The hard part is exactly how does a person come to this decision? It may be that you’ve drifted so much you don’t feel like you even know them anymore. It could be that you don’t feel this person cares about you the way they once did. It could even be that whenever you two do get to talk, the conversation somehow always focuses on them, but when it does turn to you, the conversation just stops. Maybe they’re in a relationship now and haven’t exactly made the time for you anymore. Whatever it is, it’s obvious in your encounters. There are many things that can happen between two friends that can feel like a stopping point for the friendship overall.
You, as a human being, with feelings and needs like every other person in the world, need to decide if all these things put together are the last straw for you. If you feel as if these acts of ignorance of your feelings make you feel ready to move on, it probably is time to do so.
It’s not exactly a decision people want to make. Your friends were there while you grew into the person you are. They’ve been there through your awkward stage, and your heartbreaks. But the time has come where you have start to figuring out who you are and where you want your life to go – and how those people do or don’t fit into that vision.
I have had the same group of friends for years, and while, yes, we’ve drifted, I always believed they’d be there for me. Recently though, I’ve felt this drift growing stronger and affecting me in ways I never thought it would. I went through serious anxiety this past year because I wasn’t being supported the way I had always been. I’ve had many ideas of what it is I wanted to do, but I finally came to this decision and have stuck with it. I want to be a writer. Finally knowing this means that I need all the social support I can get. Whether it’s sharing something I wrote so that others outside my friend group can see it, or even just sending me a text that they read my article. It’s uplifting and inspires me to continue writing. It reminds me that even when I think no one is reading my articles, my friends are following and supporting my hard work. And while I’m sure they do care, not being able to actually see this support hurts me immensely. It makes me question these relationships I’ve come to rely on for so long.
There are pros and cons to both sides of this situation. You may lose a lifelong friend, but what you get in return may be worth it. You may realize that they weren’t worth the heartbreak of always wondering if they care. If you don’t feel the support of these people, it’s normal for you to wonder where these people fit in your future? The answer is that maybe they don’t fit anymore, and that’s okay. It can be a rough decision to come to, but the outcome may free your mind from the constant worry of whether or not these people care about you.
If you do decide the relationship is worth it, then maybe it’s time to sit this person down and tell them how you feel. Give them that last chance. But remember how you feel now, before giving them another chance, and don’t let yourself feel that way again. As you drift, it may be time for you have to find a different place for that friendship in your life. It’s a part of growing up that people don’t want to acknowledge, but it isn’t as bad as you think. You’ll find your people, and keep those friendships as a wonderful memory of your past.